Cizre: Everything is not black and white

Cizre: Everything is not black and white

Cizre, a town in southeast Turkey, has been under curfew since Sept. 4, with entries and exits banned to the city. 

More than 100,000 people live in this city. The reason Cizre has been “under siege,” according to official statements, is because the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has dug up ditches and has placed explosives on roads and buildings.   

Security forces, to be able to conduct their operations and reverse this situation, have turned the entire city into a prison. In a normal democratic order, this can be interpreted as collectively punishing everybody. 

It is an overall punishment, not discriminating between the guilty and the innocent. People cannot get out of their houses; a family had to keep their dead child’s body in the deep freezer because they could not bury her.  

We do not know what other kinds of ordeals people confined in their houses go through because all kinds of communication with Cizre has been cut. 

However, the issue is too complicated to fit into such a black and white photo frame. One should look into what the PKK wants and not forget to also see that.  

In Cizre, upon the PKK’s order, “autonomy” was declared. The first news that came was that two neighborhoods were occupied by armed members of the PKK.

Is it possible to think a state would not intervene when some armed people declare autonomy in a part of the country? 

Such a thing would not happen in any other place in the world unless we are talking about a country such as Syria, destroyed by civil war where the central administration has lost all its authority and command.

Would the PKK not think of this when it declared autonomy and occupied the town? It is not possible. They also knew that no normal state would allow this and would interfere. 

This is what they wanted anyway; for the state to intervene, so that the people and the state confront each other; there will be casualties, thus the people would stand up to the state. 

Local people are not much of a concern for the warlords of the PKK. They may die, get hurt or lose all of their possessions. The PKK warlords do not make a problem of what would happen to these poor people. 

For that reason, they turn streets into weapon depots, plant bombs so that security forces that come to collect them will turn the life of these people into hell. 

Well, then, is what the state is doing correct?  

No, my answer is that it is not correct. The state has fallen into the PKK’s trap; it is intervening the way the PKK wanted it to. 

In a democratic country, the operations of the state are transparent. There would not be any efforts to hide what is going on there; on the contrary, they would try to get everybody to correctly learn what is going on. They would not take away the right to learn. They would make sure deputies, journalists and aid-delivering NGOs are present so the government does not look bad when they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. 

They would not sentence an entire city to house arrest with no discrimination between the guilty and the innocent. If it had to, this would not last a week. They would take the necessary measures to meet the urgent needs of the people, such as health and food. 

The incident at Cizre once more shows that the mentality dominating Turkey’s state administration has issues.